The beliefs and sentiments expressed by those whose letters appear here are not necessarily shared by the Adventist Review or its editorial staff. These letters have been edited for clarity and length. -- Editors
The news article, “Parchment, Man of Laughs, Helps Adventist President with Details
,” by Ansel Oliver (Mar. 24, 2011) gave us some insight on what the General Conference president’s busy schedule and time-consuming responsibilities must include.
When I accepted the responsibility to be the ASI convention earliteen division leader, I decided to write President Wilson to request his presence to speak at one of the sessions. His prompt and personal reply, not only once but several times, was greatly appreciated!
After reading the article about Parchment’s duties, I truly valued the president’s time and firsthand attention that reflect a caring and personable approach!
The very fine article “All to Jesus
,” by William Murrill (Mar. 24, 2011), presents an excellent summary of the biblical basis for tithing, financial stewardship, and the blessings that result from following this practice.
However, there is an interesting admonishment given by Moses to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 26:12 that I have never seen addressed by any church treasurer or other church employee (president, vice president, pastor, etc.).
Moses said, “Every year you are to give ten percent of your harvest to the Lord. But every third year, this ten percent must be given to the poor who live in your town, including Levites, foreigners, orphans and widows. That way, they will have enough to eat” (CEV). Is Moses saying that during the third year the tithe is not taken to the temple, but is used for local charity?
One has to note that a perceived conflict of interest can exist when employees of an organization promote a philosophy that serves their benefit. However, that doesn’t lessen the value and benefits that accrue to those who are faithful in their care for others through the tithing philosophy.
Keep up the good work by continuing to publish informative and challenging articles.
The March 24, 2011, Adventist Review is an excellent, thought-provoking issue.
It starts with Stephen Chavez’ article entitled “Jesus and the Word
,” saying, “The proof that the Bible is inspired (God-breathed) is not merely because the Bible says it is; the proof is seen in the lives of Christ’s followers who live as Christ lived—graciously, inclusively, lovingly, sacrificially.
“What is the proof of the Bible’s authority? It makes its followers more like Jesus.” Hallelujah!
And it ends with Mathew Hartman’s “Until We Meet again.”
Keep these Reviews
Jobs for Teachers, Teachers for Jobs
I read a Chris Jenkins letter in the March 17, 2011, Adventist Review
referring to “A Temple Reborn
,” by Carlos Medley (Dec. 16, 2010). How thankful I am for the archives at Adventist Review.org, because that article was in one of the Adventist Reviews that never got to my home last year thanks to the U.S. mail.
In these times when teachers are unable to find jobs, why are only 74 percent of the teachers in our schools are Seventh-day Adventists? Is this only in universities and colleges? I have two children who are teachers, one an elementary school teacher who has applied to Seventh-day Adventist schools, only to be told that she does not qualify as she did not take her teacher's training at a Seventh-day Adventist institution. Apparently the fact that she spent four years at a Seventh-day Adventist college (Newbold College) getting her undergraduate degree did not count.
Another Seventh-day Adventist elementary school in Oregon did not even reply to her application, as with another school in the northern states. So why isn’t [General Conference education director] Lisa Beardsley making a list of teachers--elementary through university level--who are available to teach in Seventh-day Adventist schools?
Here is one elementary school teacher who is active in her church, on her fifth year of substitute teaching in California, seeking a full time position in our schools, and she gets this sort of treatment. I know one who would jump at the chance of teaching in a Seventh-day Adventist school. She is just one person, but that will change the percentages. Who is up to the challenge? Where can she sign up saying she wants a job teaching in a Seventh-day Adventist school?
Our Bible study group meets every Tuesday night and we have started an exercise inspired by the column Searching the Obvious
, by Dixil Rodríguez. After reading the first column, we couldn’t stop talking about the clever idea of searching what is right in front of us!
Our daily lives are filled with opportunities to see God working through other people (their actions, their words). We have started to notice these (it’s not that easy!), and we share them. Thank you for the inspiring column!
Faithful and True
Regarding Andy Nash’s “It’s Not Just the Economy
” (Mar. 17, 2011): Amen! Right on! A majority (at least a very large number) still have not figured out how wonderful God is; and how He blesses so tremendously when we give honest tithe and offerings.
I know from experience. I have been a church treasurer on several occasions. At 89 I still work ful- time, not on a salary, not at regular wages, not paid regularly; I’m self-employed. I return tithe on my gross income, not after expenses. First pay the tithe and offerings to church, then more offerings to other missions, pay rent and other bills. I don’t pay interest, I don’t pay penalties, I’m not late in paying bills. This is only because of the blessings of the Lord!
Nothing From Nothing?
I always enjoy Clifford Goldstein’s ruminations (at least the parts I can understand) and his piece “The Big Bang Theory
” (Mar. 17, 2011) was no different. However, I part ways with him somewhat (respectfully, of course) regarding the theory.
As he pointed out, the theory states that “an infinitely dense state known as a singularity ‘exploded,’ creating space, time, and matter.” And he says he thinks it’s compatible with Seventh-day Adventist beliefs as long as God was the Initiator of the Big Bang (my paraphrase).
The problem, as I see it, is that an explosion implies pre-existent matter. “Nothing” can’t explode; “something” must explode. And God was not dependent on preexisting matter when He created our universe. Also, explosions produce chaos, not order.
The psalmist says that God “spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:9, KJV). The wording of that verse doesn’t lend itself to the idea that God created a singularity, which subsequently exploded. It sounds more like an instantaneous appearance of previously nonexistent matter--something quite different from a big bang.
I cannot disagree more with David Tasker’s article “Sabbath, Movies, and the Plains of Moab
” (Feb. 17, 2011). Although we have to contextualize our faith for the period in which we live, we have to be careful how we do that, especially when it comes to the Sabbath. I see no contradiction between the two versions of the Sabbath found in Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15, as Tasker does.
The Sabbath commandment deals with worship. Any time we deviate our attention from worshipping the God of creation, we tread on dangerous ground. Lest we forget, the Sabbath was first given in Eden (Gen. 2:2, 3), before anyone was redeemed; not at Mount Sinai or the plains of Moab. The Sabbath is the memorial of creation. Our clarion call is to invite postmodern men and women to “worship him who made the heavens, and the earth, the sea, and the springs of water” (Rev. 14:7).
The word “remember” is there for important reasons. We may forget that the Sabbath signifies the final act of Creation week. In it, and through it, God provides both time and space for communion and fellowship with Him (worship). It is a permanent reminder of whose we are through Creation, and yes, through redemption. It is a sign of the sanctification of God’s people (Ezek. 20:12), and a sign of God’s overall ownership and lordship (Ezek. 20:20; Mark 2:27, 28). The Sabbath brings peace, rest, and hope. Always there since Creation, it will be there throughout eternity (Isa. 66:22, 23). The Seventh-day Sabbath will be the test of faith. Nothing changed between Sinai and Moab, just as nothing changed between Creation and redemption with regard to the Sabbath commandment. Why? Because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). I need to remember that.
We should remember that every generation thinks it is brighter than the previous one, until it grows and wises up with age. Our duty is to mobilize young and old to worship their Creator God and Redeemer Lord. Contextualize but never abandon. The Lord required His precepts to be taught from the rising up of the sun to its setting in order to provide a constant and consistent reminder. We can do no better.
May God continue to bless your ministry!
--D. Chongo Mundende